Belafonte Sings the Blues (Remastered) Harry Belafonte
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- 1A Fool for You03:40
- 2Losing Hand04:20
- 3One for My Baby04:33
- 4In the Evening Mama03:29
- 5Hallelujah I Love Her So02:52
- 6The Way That I Feel04:33
- 7Cotton Fields05:18
- 8God Bless the Child05:04
- 9Mary Ann02:47
- 10Sinner's Prayer03:43
- 11Fare Thee Well04:44
Info for Belafonte Sings the Blues (Remastered)
Harry Belafonte has never before sung on records as he does in this album. He is freer, more earthy, more exultantly identified with his material than ever before. He ha always communicated an often ferocious as well as lyrical sensitivity, but in this collection he achieves a unity of emotional strength in and understanding of his material that marks an important stage in his evolution as an artist.
'This is the area - the blues - with which I have the strongest identification,' emphasizes Belafonte. It took a long time, however, before he was able to make this kind of a direct, basic blues album. By blues, incidentally, it is not meant that the songs are strict blues in terms of bar and chord structure, but that the feeling and the wryly unconquerable spirit of the blues pervade all the numbers.
'When I started singing,' Belafonte explains, 'I was involved with an environment that emphasized the modern school of jazz, and it was difficult for me to adapt the way I felt to the requirements of that kind of singing. But that was what I was exposed to at the time. I've always had a feeling for the basic blues, but it took several years of removing myself from the predominantly modern jazz environment and finding myself and my own set of blues before I had the courage to attempt an album like this. Here I can just step out and sing wholly the way I feel.'
Belafonte Sings the Blues was recorded over four sessions during the first half of 1958, and released by RCA later that year. The album features performances of numerous Billie Holiday, Johnny Mercer, and Ray Charles songs performed in a way that only Belafonte can.
„After flirting with traditional African-American material in his previous albums, Belafonte, for the first time, devotes an entire album to the blues. However, of the eleven songs, only two could be classified as traditional blues: 'In the Evenin' Mama' and 'Cotton Fields,' the latter given a five minute treatment. Belafonte would take this song on the road as part of his live act for the next decade. Of the other songs, three were covers of Ray Charles standards ('A Fool For You,' 'Hallelujah I Love Her So,' 'Mary Ann'). Another highlight is Belafonte's rendition of Billie Holiday's 'God Bless the Child.' With few exceptions, the entire album is understated and not as exciting or riveting as other Belafonte records. Still, it's solid listening, and taken track by track, thoughtful performances. Footnote: this was the first Belafonte album recorded in stereo. Some releases feature a thick, dark blue spine.“
Harry Belafonte, vocals
Recorded January 29 - March 29, 1958 in New York, June 5 and 7, 1958 in Hollywood
Produced by Ed Welker
Harold George Harry Belafonte was born in March 1, 1927. His family was Jamaican descent, but he was born in the United States. He is an actor, singer and a socio humanitarian activist. His mother Melvine, was a house keeper while his father Harold George, was a chef. Between the years 1932 and 1940, he lived in Jamaica with his grandmother. He then attended George Washington High School in New York; he was then enrolled into the navy and participated in the Second World War.
In late 1940s, he enrolled in drama classes and subsequently joined the American Negro Theatre to perfect his skills. Due to his hard work and determination, he was awarded a Tony Award. In 1950s, he popularized the musical style in Caribbean using international fans and as a result he was nicknamed the “king of calypso”. “Banana Boat Song” was his major hit song that brought him into the limelight across the world. Throughout his entire life, he has been a major crusader of civil and humanitarian rights; he was in the forefront of criticizing president G. W. Bush administrative policies.
His first commonly released album “Matilda” was recorded on April 27, 1953. In 1956, the Calypso album was launched which attracted the attention of the world earning him the nickname. He made very many recordings between the years 1950s to the 1970s; he was so famous that he was even invited to perform in the inauguration ceremony of President John F. Kennedy. Due to the emergence of The Beatles and other superstars from Britain in late 1960s, Harry Belafonte’s fame started diminishing very fast the same way it had come. He started touring the world in 1980s actively participating in humanitarian issues, during this time he made very few recordings.
He was the first African American to win an award in television production in 1950s; he has also received several honors including the coveted Kennedy Center Honors in the year 1989. He has held many concerts until in 2007 when he stated that he had retired due to illness. Belafonte also stirred in various films in 1950s like; Bright Road, Otto Preminger among others. He was not very happy with the roles he was allocated in the movies; and as a result he took a break until in 1970s. He has since been involved in so many movies his last one was in 2006 in a movie titled “Bobby, Emilio Estevez”
Harry Belafonte was married to Marguerite Byrd from 1948 to 1957 and they have two daughters, Adrienne and Shari. In March 8, 1957, he married Julie Robinson and they have two children, David and Gina. On April 2008, he married Pamela Frank. Paul Robeson was his political mentor who had a great influence in his political ideologies and beliefs. Belafonte opposed racial discrimination in America and colonialism in Africa. He was so active to the extent that President John F. Kennedy gave him advisory role to the Peace Corps. He has participated in various funds drives that have been held across the world to promote humanitarian activities.
This album contains no booklet.